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Friday, 9 August 2013

Mini restaurant reviews: Mien Tay and Eco

My friend Carmela took me to Kingsland road last Friday for lunch. I've never been there before - what have I been doing with my life?! Kingsland road has more Vietnamese restaurants than you can shake a stick at. We didn't know which to pick so we plumped for one randomly (I stupidly didn't take its name) and hungrily chose two lunch specials - priced at a very reasonable £5.85.

My love affair with Vietnamese food started when I visited Vietnam a couple of years ago. I haven't had the opportunity to eat any Vietnamese food since (apart from making a couple of egg soups at home) so Kingsland road was a complete and utter revelation.

Vietnamese food is so fresh and full of spices. I think it's my favourite out of malyasian, thai and Chinese cuisine.

At lunch, we shared spring rolls with BBQ'd pork and a large spicy beef noodle soup. I don't have lot of patience with noodle soups - most of my noodles slip from my chopsticks and end up splashing me with soup when they fall back into the bowl(!), but the spring rolls and BBQ'd pork were incredible and came with a delicious pickled sliced cabbage salad and the all important cold vermicelli.

It gave me such a taste for Vietnamese food that when Martin suggested going somewhere for dinner on Sunday night, the only cuisine it could be was Vietnamese.

Kingsland road is a bit of trek, but I remember reading one of the lovely Lucy's blogs posts where she recommended Mien Tay. There's conveniently one in Battersea so we walked along there last Sunday.

It was very busy considering it was a Sunday night (always a good sign). The waiters were very abrupt, but we didn't mind, it all felt very authentic. We started with some vegetable spring rolls and followed it with an incredibly tasty tofu clay pot curry and honey spiced chicken. Both were exceptionally good value and, as with all Vietnamese places, the portions were huge. The wine is also very well priced at approximately £15 for a bottle.

On Wednesday, Martin's parents came down to visit us from Manchester and kindly took us out for dinner. We suggested Eco, our local Italian where we've eaten several good meals. It's been recently refurbished and we hadn't paid a visit yet, so Wednesday seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The decor is nice - yet more exposed bricks and industrial lighting (I wonder when this will stop being fashionable) and as usual it was really busy. We ordered 4 dips and bread for a sharing starter. As you can see they arrived a little over done. They were enjoyable though; I particularly liked the sausage and chorizo dip.

For main, M and I shared an asparagus and pancetta salad and a burratta and aubergine pizza. Sadly, this was also a little disappointing. The asparagus salad was stingy - only two spears of asparagus. Luckily, we were both sharing half a pizza so it wasn't like we left hungry. I love burratta and always try to order it if I spot it on a menu. Sadly the pizza was spoiled by the aubergine which was far too wet and made most of the base of the pizza soggy.

Finally, Martin ordered affogato (ice cream and an espresso shot) while, still feeling a little peckish, I chose the orange and almond tart. This was tasty, but look at how they presented it. I really think they could have made more of an effort! Although our dinner was fine and made really enjoyable because of the company, I'm not sure I'll be returning to Eco again. I think we'll just have to make more of an effort and journey to Balham for a Franco Manca pizza which I've heard so much about but I'm yet to try.

What's your favourite Italian restaurant? Personally, Pizza Express is one of my guilty pleasures. It's so reliable and amazing value when they've got their 3 courses for £9.95 offer on.

Have you ever tried Vietnamese food? What do you think of it?


  1. Looks like a fab meal. The food looks gorgeous!

  2. Yay I'm glad you enjoyed it :) ! It is definitely our favourite on 'pho mile' (though we also want to try Song Que which is supposedly its' parallel, though we always feels bad cheating on Mien Tay ;) ). I would love to visit Vietnam (and gorge on all their delicious food!) - my mum is visiting in November and I'm so jealous!

  3. Hi, new blog reader! I don't think I've ever had Vietnamese food, but it looks great!